Wicked, the extremely popular (and award-winning) Broadway stage musical inspired by the Gregory Maguire novel of the same name (fully titled Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West), is at last headed to the big screen. Universal Pictures announced a 2019 theatrical release date for the musical film adaptation earlier this year, with Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours) directing from a script by Winnie Holzman (who also wrote the Wicked stage musical).
The Wicked movie adaption will also feature lyrics and music by Stephen Schwartz, the songwriter/composer who worked on the Broadway version of the story. Schwartz attended Comic-Con International in San Diego this year and ended up revealing some interesting tidbits of information about the Wicked movie adaptation.
Speaking at CW3PR’s 8th Annual Behind the Musical panel at this year’s Comic-Con, Schwartz revealed that the Wicked film (in its current form) includes four new songs: three of them newly-written tunes, the other being a song that was cut from the original Broadway stage musical. He also re-confirmed both Daldry and Holzman’s involvement with the Wicked movie adaptation and that the film has begun early development, as you can see from the following video taken of the panel (via Playbill):
Both Wicked the musical and novel explore the life and times of the green-skinned Elphaba, starting well before she becomes known as the Wicked Witch of the West – and then, when Elphaba has her infamous encounter with Dorothy of Kansas. Wicked, in many ways, served as the prototype for such films as Disney’s Sleeping Beauty re-imagining Maleficent, in the way that it similarly re-examines the fairy tale that inspired it (The Wizard of Oz) from its villain’s perspective, painting said antagonist in a more positive light in the process.
While a number of Broadway stage musicals-turned movies released over the past decade (Les Misérables, Into the Woods, and so on) have included one additional brand-new song, Wicked‘s inclusion of four songs not included in its stage musical predecessor is less conventional. Then again, Disney’s upcoming live-action Beauty and the Beast re-imagining will also include a handful of original songs that weren’t part of its own (animated) predecessor, so this could become something of a fresh trend for musical movie adaptations… however long it lasts, anyway.
Wicked opens in U.S. theaters on December 20th, 2019.
Source: Stephen Schwartz [via Playbill]